Calgary-born, Toronto based artist Kayla Polan is a multidisciplinary artist working across traditional and new media. She recently graduated with Distinction from the Ontario College of Art & Design University with a BFA major in Drawing & Painting. Her practice melds feminism and popular culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, fetishism, domesticity, queer identity, autobiography, and consumer culture through the use of painting, sculpture, printmaking, and performance. She has received multiple awards for her work, including the Sparkbox Studio Emerging Artist Award. Her work has been exhibited in several group exhibitions in Canada and Europe.
Art making for me is about creating something that's not there, as an artist I think you have to be able to imagine something that doens't exist. This comes from queer theorist Jose Munoz' idea of Queer World Making, where LGBTQ+ people who aren't happy with existing power structures in society have to be able to make their own worlds. Feminists also have a long history of trying to imagine a world unlike it is now through Feminist Utopia Making.
In my work I imagine the home as a space of mutual pleasure for all parties, rejecting a utilitarian domesticity. Just as I reject the idea that sex must be utilitarian and reproductive. I try to redefine one's most basic associations with sex by avoiding nudity, the bedroom, and genital-centred sex. This series is largely about trying to redefine the domestic sphere, and expand upon normative understandings of sex and sexuality. Humour is an especially important part of my work, as it can enable a break in the established social culture, eliminate taboo, and destabilize some basic values of society.
Kayla is exhibiting at Bunker 2 Gallery's group exhibition "Vacancy" June 8 - July 9 2017. This is a featured exhibition in the Nuit Rose Festival.
Kayla will be selling prints at the Northern Contemporary Print Expo on July 16th 11am-6pm.
Participants of 2016/17 YYZLAB Artist Residency will be exhibiting at YYZ Artist Outlet at 401 Richmond in Toronto at the end of July.
Kayla was invited to do a five week residency at Struts and Faucet in 2018.
The Drake Art Blog did a studio visit and interview with Kayla about her work and the Akin Collective Pop Ups at The Drake Hotel, and The Drake 150.
Kayla's work as published alongside an interview in Discount Magazine Food Issue in May 2017.
Kayla's work was published in Milkweed Zine Issue III. Her work was featured on the cover and in a spread within. Her painting "Honey, Pass the Corn Pops" was exhibited at the launch party at Brandscape in March.
As the recipient of the Sparkbox Studio Emerging Artist Residency Award 2017, Kayla just finished a printmaking residency at Spark Box Studio in Picton, Canada.
Dirty Laundry released an interview with Kayla in early February.
"Whipping Cream" and "I Guess We're Calling In Sick Today" exhibited at the 2017 Feminist Art Conference exhibition "Embodied Resistance" in January at OCAD University in Toronto.
Kayla did an artist talk and spoke on a panel discussion on "Tools, Toys and Tricks of The Trade: Redefining the Domestic Sphere" at the 2017 Feminist Art Conference at OCAD University in Toronto.